Fontana time trial notes 2006-03-11/12

Welcome to the National Auto Sports Association Time Trial 2006 season. This will be the best season yet, with more drivers, and faster lap times. I've been visiting other NASA regions, and I can tell you that they are getting ready to meet us at...

Welcome to the National Auto Sports Association Time Trial 2006 season. This will be the best season yet, with more drivers, and faster lap times. I've been visiting other NASA regions, and I can tell you that they are getting ready to meet us at Mid-Ohio in September. Here is the report from our last event at Cal Speedway.

California Speedway Report (3-11, 3-12-06)--Wet and Wild

Drivers came from all over the Western States to sunny Southern California for our NASA TT championship season opener event at California Speedway the second weekend in March. Registration prior to the event was nothing short of immense. We had at least 52 TT drivers scheduled to come out and compete with us, coming from Seattle, Arizona, Las Vegas, and both Northern and Southern California. It was a setup for the perfect weekend of TT--a record breaker in terms of both numbers of participants and lap times. TT finally got its own run group for an entire event.

Well, we ended up with only 42 drivers, wind, rain, hale, and sleet--you can't win them all. We actually had a few more drivers than that, but their cars didn't last past the Friday test and tune day. We did have a number of no-shows (hydrophobics?). There were a fair amount of us there on Friday to test out the cars and the track. The track was moist in the morning from the previous nights condensation, although it hadn't rained yet. The second session was actually pretty dry, and we got in a few good laps before the sprinkles started coming. Well, by 11:30, it was pouring rain. It lasted for about 90 minutes, but during that time it looked like the big storm had moved in and that we were done for the day and maybe the weekend. The rain suddenly stopped, and the sun actually came back out. The track dried off, and we had a few dry sessions at the end of the day. Friday night had a few stars shining, barely, but it wouldn't last.

We woke to a wet track again, but this time because of rain. The first session of the competition weekend was wet, but no puddles. The second session was wet, and it started sprinkling during our session. Our drivers started having problems with spins, hydroplaning, and braking variability. The rest of the day, the weather just got worse as the day wore on. We had hale and sleet during the early afternoon, with heavy downpours that left large amounts of standing water on the track. Lap times were now 20-60 seconds slower than in the second session. Our drivers used these sessions to gain experience in wet conditions, and learn a little more about their cars. There were 13 brave (?other) souls that took their boats, I mean cars, out in the 4th session on Saturday. Needless to say, there were no track records, and no spectacular performances. Most of the best times of the day were put down in the second session. What is interesting about the results is the we have a majority of class winners getting their first wins in NASA TT in our Region. Steve Raeder (from Seattle) took first in TTR. Clay Koevary took first in TTU. John Wheeler and Derek Sabol took their first wins in TTB and TTC. Robert Symonds took the win in TTE on his first day out with us, and Michael Chiappetta took his first win in TTF. Claus Groth (TTA 0runner-up in '06) and Shawn Dolan ('06 TTD Champion) took the wins in TTA and TTD.

Saturday night the stars came out again, but this time in a serious way. It looked like the storm had passed, and we were headed for a great day on Sunday. Once again the track was a little damp first session, but by the second session, we had dry track that continued into the third session. Out of the blue, the clouds returned after a perfect morning, and rain was threatening again. This time it held off except for a few minimal sprinkles. It poured once again as the last HPDE 1 & 2 group took the track. But, were the conditions good enough with a green track after all of that rain? Yep--good enough. Maybe not great, but the track was good enough for our guys to knock out 5 track records out of the seven classes competing. All records occurred during the third and fourth sessions. Steve Raeder took the TTR win once again (and the track record since there wasn't a TTR class prior). Clay Koevary posted a new track record in TTU with a 1:50.84. If he could have avoided his spin and continue in the second session, it would have been a 1:50.02. Patrick Lindsey, after making his debut in racing during the weekend in his new American Iron ride, came on track for one TT session the entire weekend. It was enough for him to not only put down a TTA record at 1:50.24 in his '01 Audi S4, but to also have the best official time of anyone the entire weekend. Of note is that Clay posted a 1:49.52 in the first warm-up session on Sunday. Dan Rose didn't get a track record in TTB, but he sure proved that his mid-season slump in '05 is over with. He took the win with a 1:54.32. Greg Greenbaum couldn't muster a 1:54 like he did in '05, but he did a good enough time to take the TTC win. Ryan Flaherty set a new TTD record breaking the two minute barrier with a 1:59.24. Ricardo Gomez was hot on his tail with a 1:59.87, that would have also been a new track record. Mark Rodrigues beat his prior track record in TTE with a 2:05.47, and Dan Gardner came close (but no cigar) to the TTF track record, posting a 2:09.92.

So, the weekend turned out alright. We had no car-car contact, and everybody went home from this nasty weather weekend in one piece. Five track records with the conditions that we had is pretty amazing. This is going to be a tough year for our competitors, as the drivers are clearly stepping it up already as they prepare to head for Mid-Ohio in September for the NASA TT National Championships. All results and standings are posted on the National TT website <> and <>

We head to Buttonwillow Raceway Park next (April 8th, 9th), and we'll be running configuration #13 (full track with the Bus Stop, minus Star Mazda) in the clockwise direction. The last time we ran this configuration was in April, 2004, and many of us have been waiting to get a shot at it again for track records. In fact, I'm going to make a prediction right now that every one of our six track records gets broken at that event.

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Series Road racing
Drivers Derek Sabol , Patrick Lindsey , Dan Gardner , Dan Rose